Organ donation info campaign under wayPublished 8:26pm Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of stories aimed at increasing public awareness about organ donation and the lives that it impacts. Later stories will feature local people who have either donated organs to give life, or have been the recipient of an organ transplant.
June Faircloth knows the impact that organ donation can make, and this October she’s doing what she can to increase public awareness about the “gift of life” that anybody can give.
Faircloth lost her 18-year-old son, Dylan, in an automobile accident in July 2010. Stan Gann, a retired high school football coach in Warner Robins, Ga., received Dylan’s heart. Two mothers received Dylan’s kidneys, a mechanic in Georgia received his liver and an 11-year-old boy received his cornea. A Florida accountant received a lung.
Since Dylan’s death, Faircloth has served as a local T.A.G. (transplant advocacy group) representative for LifeLink of Georgia, an organization devoted to saving lives through organ donation. Each year, she organizes a 5K run to increase public awareness and raise money for scholarship for local students.
This year, the “Epic 5K Challenge” is scheduled for Oct. 27, at 9 a.m., at the Spring Hill Christmas Tree Farm. More information is available online at epicday.yolasite.com.
However, Faircloth said she wanted to do more than just the Epic 5K Challenge, this October.
“The run is a wonderful event with a great message,” she said. “However, this year, I want to also do more of a public-awareness campaign throughout the entire month. We’ll be speaking with community clubs, schools, churches, and other organizations to make sure the message gets out there.”
In addition, there will be three health fairs in Decatur County, and Faircloth and other LifeLink representatives will be in attendance. One of those fairs is a community health fair that will be held Wednesday, Oct. 24, at the Cloud Livestock Facility, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., for anyone 18 and older.
Some of the statistics concerning organ and tissue donation are staggering. According to Donate Life Georgia, more than 100,000 men, women and children currently await lifesaving organ transplants. However, an average of 18 people die each day because there is not a suitable donor available.
Last year, approximately 8,000 deceased donors made possible nearly 22,000 organ transplants. In addition, there were another 6,000 transplants from living donors.
“A lot of my passion about organ donation is connected with my Christian faith,” Faircloth said. “I think we should help mankind every way that we can, and this is a way to help. It doesn’t cost anything, and your gift will help another live.”
As another way to increase public education about organ donation, Faircloth and local business sponsors are creating a calendar featuring photos of local people who have been touched by organ donation. These calendars will also feature small stories about each of these citizens, and Faircloth said the calendars will be ready sometime by the end of the year.
For more information about organ donation, or to sign up to be an organ donor, visit online at www.donatelifegeorgia.org. For additional information about the Epic 5K Challenge or other local activities associated with organ donation, call Faircloth at (229) 246-4670.